It probably comes as no surprise to you that I love my children. (I think most mothers love their children...most of the time).
I love hugging them (Elmira from Anamaniacs style) kissing them (obsessively) and making them laugh (they think I'm freaking hilarious! They're only three and one, but I'll take it!)
What I also love is observing their behaviours and watching their personalities develop. They're like my little lab rats, and it's awesome (but they're not rats so that makes it even more awesome).
As an only child, I always longed for a sibling so we could stare at each other all day long and compare our similarities and differences 'cuz that's what siblings do, right? So now that I have my own kids who share my DNA, it genuinely excites me to observe them and see what traits we share.
NOTE: No, I didn't just have children as part of a large science experiment (well, it wasn't the only reason...)
So far, there are a few things that I've noticed that make me feel oddly connected to my children:
As an avid pack-a-day gum chewer myself, I understand the allure of gum. But I wasn't about to let my three year-old son chew it. But then one day, he found a piece of gum on the floor of the van (un-chewed, thankfully) and promptly popped it in his mouth. I thought for sure he'd swallow it, or start playing with it and I'd have to take it away. But no. My son responsibly chewed the gum, and when he was done, he gave it to me to throw away. He's a fucking genius.
If you've been reading my blogs over the last few years, you'll know that I have a sick obsession/fascination with picking things. I think this is predominantly a female trait that is somehow linked to estrogen levels (that's my very scientific hypothesis anyway). But my daughter, at the age of one, is already incredibly skilled at picking things like stickers and the wall decals on her brother's room - and she LOVES it. I can already tell she gets the same sense of satisfaction as I do out of a great pick. It makes me smile.
This one is pretty self explanatory, but I eat cereal 365 days a year, and I share this morning ritual with my kids as we snuggle on the couch and watch TV. Bite sized shredded wheat or All-Bran. Sometimes we throw some Cherrios or Shreddies into the mix, but that's only if we're feeling rebellious. My daughter is also incredibly skilled with a spoon. But that's probably because she is also a fucking genius.
As soon as my son was born and placed on my chest, one of the first things we noticed was that he has the same crooked pinky finger as my husband. A sweet little trait that I'm happy they share. As long as he doesn't inherit my husband's stinky feet, I'm happy!
When my husband is sitting and relaxing, he'll be totally still except his big toe vibrates as fast as a hummingbird. It's quite funny to watch. He doesn't even know he's doing it. Well, lately, my daughter has started to lift and wiggle her big toe whenever she is sitting or concentrating. As long as she doesn't inherit my husband's farts, I'm happy.
NOTE: Whenever I mentioned my husband's endearing traits, I also added some of his less-than-endearing traits. I'm such an asshole. But it's my revenge for his loud chewing. *boo-yah* I did it again. I have a feeling I'm never going to with the "let's have another baby" debate if I keep writing blog posts like this...
So tell me, am I alone in these genetic observations, or have you also noticed weird similarities between yourself and your kids? What are they? I'd love to know!
RELATED: Are You A Picky Parent?
Becoming a mother changes you.
It just does. Whether it's the jeans that used to fit that remain folded in the back of your closet, or the tears that now roll down your cheeks while watching Cottonelle commercials: you're different after you become a mother.
For some, the change is drastic. Others barely notice the shift - but it's there.
One area where many moms I've spoken with over the last few years have felt this change is in the workplace. After they have children, as cliche as it sounds, their priorities tend to change. Their interests change. Jobs that used to inspire and invigorate them and keep them at the office for 12 hours a day no longer feel exciting (and are often no longer even feasible.) These women still crave a career, but they also crave something else: freedom and flexibility.
They want to find a way to still feel fulfilled, still make money, and still see their children.
So I decided to interview a few of the amazing mom friends in my life who are doing something different. These women are trailblazers who think (and work) outside of the box! I asked them to share their stories and words of wisdom with me.
While on maternity leave with her daughter, my fashion savvy friend Teresa noticed there was a void in the baby marketplace: luxury lunch bags. Teresa is an on-the-go fashionable mama, who found herself looking for stylish insulated lunch bags for her daughter's baby food. There weren't any. So, with a strong vision and a lot of hard work, Teresa made it happen and Modern Mary was born.
Modern Mary's clutches are insulated designer lunch bags that come in a variety of colours, and they are made from genuine leather. When Teresa sent me one to sample, I was blown away (This thing is nicer than my best purse!) In fact - I used it as a purse on a date night out with my husband. (Shhh! Don't tell Teresa. Fashion faux pas!) But seriously, it's that nice!
When I asked Teresa about starting her own business she said, "Starting a small business is not easy. There were many points when I wondered, "Did I do the right thing?" But I'm a hard worker, I'm loyal, I'm positive, and I'm a fighter. I knew if I was working for someone else I would use these attributes to bring their company success, so instead I chose to use these qualities to bring myself success."
Writer & Creator, MagneTree Books
I met Josie in an online birth club. When she shared her creative idea for a children's book - I nearly jumped out of my skin I was so excited! MagenTree books are personalized magnetic (!!!) books for children that allows them to incorporate magnetic images of their own family members into the story. It's interactive, imaginative, and oh-so-fun! You can pre-order a copy and support Josie in this endeavor by checking out the Kickstarter campaign here.
When I asked Josie what advice she'd give other mom's looking to do something different, she said, "Take the plunge! You never know until you try. I was stuck in a job that I hated and blamed it on all kinds of things, but when it came down to it, it was because I was pouring my heart and soul into something that I had no creative ownership over. I looked at my mat leave as a chance to "make it" in the world - and quickly realized MagneTree was what I wanted to do... I don't have any advantages or connections, but I have an incredibly supportive business partner and family. Becoming a Mom has taught me that I can accomplish anything!"
My younger cousin Sarah is an incredible single Mom who is doing a fantastic job raising two young girls on her own. When she was researching career options, she wanted something that would fit her lifestyle and allow her to be the hands-on Mom that she wanted to be. So, she decided to open a daycare in her home!
I asked Sarah what she loves the most, "I love being there before and after school to pick up my kids (now that they're of school age - before, they were home with me and the daycare crew!) I love seeing their excited faces as soon as they come home from school!"
When I asked her what advice she'd give someone interested in starting a home daycare she said, "Do your research first. Would you want to do it on your own? Or through a company (like Wee Watch - which is the company I use.) When you go through a company, you don't have to look after all the legal work that comes along with a home daycare... Also, make sure having a daycare is the right job for you. Having kids all day in your home might be a little stressful, so make sure you're ready to cope with all of that. It's fun, rewarding, and I love it. I take pride in watching all these kids grow up and having a part of it. It feels amazing!"
Writer, Editor, Communications Consultant
Another friend of mine who has a pretty sweet set-up, is a former YMC blogger, Hailey Eisen. Hailey has two young kids, works from home, and seems to juggle it all - with such grace. She used to have a full-time editorial job, which she loved, but she quickly realized she was more productive and happier when she had the flexibility to work on her own time. Her creativity flourished, and she wasn't restricted to the 9-5 cubicle setting.
"Once I started having kids, the value of working for myself became even more evident. While I didn't ever take a 'mat leave' and worked on and off throughout their first years, I was able to spend more time with them when they were little and get work done whenever I could."
When I asked Hailey what advice she'd give to other mom's who are looking at a freelance/work from home career path, she said , "...You need to learn to embrace the chaos and accept that you'll be multi-tasking a lot. Sometimes I'm in line at the grocery store answering work emails. Sometimes I'm finishing assignments while my kids play in the backround...If you want to be successful, you'll need to have childcare/help in place. It's impossible to do it all."
Arbonne Regional Vice President & Independent Consultant
As you can see, there are many ways around the 9-5: and these amazing women have all found unique ways that work for them. It's not easy being a mother who also desires a career, but it's possible to find alternatives. So now I'll ask you two questions:
What do you want your life to look like? And how are you going to make it happen?
Last week, I put the winter coats away and sighed with relief. Sure, I was happy the nice weather was finally here to stay - but I was even more ecstatic that I could finally get into the van with ease. NO MORE SNOWSUITS.
But then I remembered, with nice weather comes...
THE SUNSCREEN BATTLES.
*cue horror movie-music and echoed screams*
Just when I thought that I could maybe get out the door with both kids in under 15 minutes, my happy bubble was burst.
Putting sunscreen on a 3 year-old and 1 year-old is just about as much fun as pulling splinters from your feet. In fact, I think I'd rather pull splinters from my own feet because at least I'd f*cking stay still!
Trying to get sunscreen on my 1 year-old requires a professional background in martial arts. She flips, and wriggles, and runs away. She has mastered the "limp dead weight" technique when I try to pick her up, and she slips through my arms with ease. When I do finally pin her down (and I actually do have to pin her down) she flops around like a fish out of water. I usually end up poking her in the eye. Twice. She cries. I'm sweating. It's pure awesomeness.
Once I finally have the thick zinc sunscreen semi-rubbed into my daughter's face, it's time to find my son and enter Round 2 of the sunscreen battles. To be honest, he's a bit better this year, but he has limited patience for it.
Last year, I used to tell him I was "rubbing the sunscreen OFF" in an attempt to get him to stay still while I rubbed it "IN". I would giggle victoriously to myself in the process.
MOM: 1 TODDLER: 0
(You must celebrate the small things in life...)
Six and a half hours later, my kids look like creepy greasy clowns with sunscreen half rubbed into their faces and matted throughout their once clean hair. But at least we are finally ready to go outside.
So why? Why do we go through this battle? Because it's important. Like eating your leafy greens and brushing your teeth, applying sunscreen is just another one of those things. In fact, it's probably even more important. To be honest, I'm very militant about sunscreen (ask my husband) because I understand the harmful effects of the sun. As someone who is covered in moles (ahem: beauty marks) I'm constantly on the lookout for changes that might indicate a problem. So when a friend shared this video with me, I just had to share it with all of you in the hopes that you will also make this a #NEWFAMILYRULE
Now tell me - is sunscreen a battle in your house too? Do you have any tips or techniques you can share with me? Or will I have to step-up my wrestling game?
If it's not one thing it's another: Car Seats + Snow Suits = Sh*tshow